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Elisabeth Bergner on her first meeting with Barrie.

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Peter Squat (?) brought him to my dressing room. Where I played a character. It was very much his Peter Pan. The, you want to call it that, the tragedy was that he so identified me with the character, that it was the same character. It was, it had to be! As I never saw in him this man, I never knew this man, so he never knew me. Except in the character he had made me and he instantaneously identified me with. He had no idea, actually, that I was much riper as an artist, as a human being than what he saw. I warned him twice that I was 36. He thought in his naivete, he thought I was afraid of not being young enough for David. It never occurred to him that David was just too young for me. And my needs. I had to be much older to understand this mutual injustice. It was a mutual injustice. The man that Peter brought into my dressing room was something. When Peter said, "I'm bringing Barrie today", and I said who's he? And he said don't you know? Sir James Barrie. And I said oh Sir James Barrie. And he said don't you know Peter Pan? I said oh yes, is he still alive? He said he's in the theatre tonight and you don't know what that means? That man hadn't been in the theater...so he brought him, in the interval first, and he was cold as an eye (?) and we looked at each other. And he laughed! And we laughed and we did not know why. I call it love at first sight. And Peter stood there and said what are you laughing? And he came again at the end. And he never said he liked me or I was good or anything like that. But he said Peter is going to bring me to tea tomorrow. Alright and Peter brought me for tea. As soon as he arrived he sent him away. I said Peter, I had to be up at half past 7 and you know, the theatre. Peter said he would fetch me and did. And Barrie gave me tea and asked me if there was a play or a part that I had ever wanted to do and not done. And I said no there wasn't, I had done everything I wanted to do and now I am really escaping. And it wasn't at all my idea and I was going to go into something very different. So there was nothing I hadn't done. And then he went on, I should think, that there wasn't anything, you must know at the same time, two weeks earlier, I had the same conversation with John (?) asked me exactly the same questions that I couldn't absolutely provide him with a part. That I wanted to do, time went you know, and he said, there wasn't anything that had excited me in the last year? A book or music or anything? Anything that had excited me very much? And I said yes, about a year ago or so, I was in the Hague and I went every day to the Rembrandt museum because I had fallen in love with the picture of the Rembrandt. And David playing the harp just so. And you can't imagine what a shock hit his face. And he just stood, quite a long time, I should tell you what the picture showed. He didn't know. I told him. What that was, what that particularly was, that had excited me so in the picture? And I think it was small, in the picture. I said it was Solomon. He had the javelin ready to throw at the boy who was playing the harp. And the other boy has the tent curtain and wiped his eye. And this at the same time him weeping and wiping his eyes and ready to throw javelin, and this was the scene I thought was so super sized in Rembrandt. And he said, that's my boys. Were his words. Peter came. I didn't know what he meant. I hadn't the faintest idea what he meant. Peter came and we went. We were in the elevator going down, when Barrie opened it and pulled me out and whispered in my ear, goodbye baby. It's a lovely story, isn't it? And I didn't know that was his play, as he said it was, of his boys. It was.

Post Date - 5 May 2020 23:41 | Report
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